Relatively little is known about Mercury, one of our nearest planetary neighbours, but the European Space Agency is aiming to address this with a spaceprobe mission to Mercury set to launch in 2013.
One of the major problems for any probe getting close to Mercury is the extreme heat, with temperatures rising to 350C even when orbiting the planet. The current materials that are used to protect spaceprobes are simply not able to withstand such heat.
That is where researchers at the Tyndall National Institute at UCC have come in, by providing ESA with a new material that has been can help a mercury space probe withstand the huge tempeatures it will be facing.
Click below to watch slot broadcast on TV3’s, Ireland AM on 02.10.2009